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NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour

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New York, United States
NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour

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Free cancellation
Up to 24 hours in advance. Learn more
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Safety measures
icon3 hours  (Approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

Overview

From stroopwafel to mozzarella to knishes; there are many amazing eats on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. On this small-group walking tour, discover the neighborhood's diverse cultural heritage and learn how its immigration history has influenced its dynamic foodie scene. Along the way, visit markets, bakeries, and restaurants, and sample delicacies from all around the world.
  • Explore Manhattan’s Lower East Side like a New Yorker with a local guide
  • Sample New York’s famous knishes and four other dishes
  • Small-group tour offers a more personalised experience
  • Receive insider tips and recommendations on where to eat in the city
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Gratuities

Departure Point

290 Broadway, New York, NY 10007, USA

In front of the African Burial Ground National Monument, across from 7 Elk Street (between Duane and Reade Street), New York, NY 10007

Departure Time

10:00 AM

Return Details

Lower East Side, New York, NY, USA

Your tour ends in the heart of the Lower East Side neighborhood (New York, NY 10002)

Today the Lower East Side is crammed with bars, clubs and trendy restaurants. But if you know where to look, you can find very edible remnants of its intriguing past. The neighborhood was once home to many of the city’s new immigrants and the old-school food of the area still reflects this.

So come hungry for this fun small-group tour, where you’ll munch on the sample some of the best snacks and learn a lot about the history of the Lower East Side. Start off with some stroopwafel, which is Dutch for ‘syrup waffle.".

Next, try knishes, representative of the Jewish immigrants who once populated the area, at some of the bakeries that are still sprinkled around here. Munch on mozzarella in nearby Little Italy, today just part of Mulberry Street, but once a bustling part of town with thousands of immigrants from southern Italy.

Learn about the history of the neighborhood from your local guide. From Poles to Jews to Italians, many different immigrants have called the Lower East Side home and they’ve all left their mark. Also learn about the erstwhile African burial ground, where Africans, both enslaved and free, were put to rest through most of the 18th century. 

Finally, step into chaotic Chinatown, where steamed pork buns and succulent soup dumplings compete for your taste buds.

The tour finishes back on the Lower East Side, where you can continue exploring on your own.

It’s advisable to wear or bring clothing that is weather appropriate depending on the season, as you’ll be outside for at least 3 hours. It’s also recommended you book the tour at least 48 hours before.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
African Burial Ground National Monument
We discuss the discovery of the burial ground and the building of the memorial and monument, including the significance of some of the design. We also talk a little bit about the early African experience in New York through those that were brought here as slaves and those that were freed.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
New York City Supreme Court
We talk about the history of the surrounding area that was once a poor Irish community and before that a polluted pond. You get to see the building that is now most famous for being featured on most episodes of Law & Order.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Columbus Park
We briefly walk through this park on the edge of Chinatown and talk about what used to be here: the notorious neighborhood of the Five Points. We discuss the Irish immigration and show photos of what the neighborhood used to look like.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Chinatown
We walk through part of the neighborhood, discuss Chinese immigration, and visit a dumpling shop that is a local favorite. We also give tips on where else to visit in the large community.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Little Italy
We head up and around Mulberry Street and discuss Italian immigration. We get to see some amazing modern street art, hear stories about organized crime, and visit an historic local Italian food shop for a delicious tasting.
Duration: 20 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Nolita
We cruise through one of the most trendy neighborhoods in New York today and discuss the changing neighborhood. This used to be Little Italy, but today it’s loaded with hip bars and restaurants and we get to see some of the best street art in the city.
Duration: 15 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
St. Patrick's Old Cathedral
As we walk through Nolita, you get a chance to see the original St. Patrick’s and learn about the hardships Catholic immigrants first suffered when coming to this country.
Duration: 5 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Sara D Roosevelt Park
Learn about the history of this park, named for FDR’s mother, and take a quick stroll through the northern end. We’ll also stop at the M’Finda Kalunga Garden inside the park to discuss Latin American immigration and how this neighborhood has changed throughout the decades.
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Lower East Side
See the transformation of the neighborhood from an area filled with run-down tenements and poverty to one that is currently being gentrified. See lots of great street art and community gardens. Learn about Jewish, German, and Latin American immigration in this neighborhood and sample some traditional food.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Not Included
Pass By:  
Tenement Museum
We share stories about the founding of the museum and its important part in Lower East Side history. Our tour ends very close to the museum and our guides can give you tips on how to get tickets and explore their excellent gift shop.
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Children aged 5 years and younger are welcome at no charge
  • Tour runs rain or shine
  • Comfortable walking shoes recommended
  • Maximum group size is 12
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Urban Adventures USA

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours in advance of the start date of the experience. Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:The policies on face masks and attendee health are:

  • Face masks required for travelers in public areas
  • Face masks required for guides in public areas
See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.
Q:
What is the social distancing policy during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:The policies on social distancing are:

  • Social distancing enforced throughout experience
  • Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons
See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.
Q:
What measures are being taken to ensure staff health & safety during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:The policies on staff health & safety are:

  • Guides required to regularly wash hands
  • Paid stay-at-home policy for staff with symptoms
See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.
Q:
What is the maximum group size during NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour?
A:This activity will have a maximum of 12 travelers.

See all safety measures taken by NYC Lower East Side Food and Culture Small-Group Tour.

Traveler Photos

Reviews

5.0
star-5
481 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

Showing 1-10 of 481 reviews
star-5
Its Delicious Fun
Sandi
, Sep 2021
Are you wondering is a food tour in NYC fun and delicious, think no more; it is! Book one with Brian. His tour was full of culture, history, stories, and the most wonderful tastes (BIG tastes) of NYC neighborhoods. He has a great voice you can hear through his mask. Walking along, greetings were exchanged between Brian and neighborhood residents. Charming. Safe clean toilets at one of our stops. Here's where we dined as part of our tour: Fried Dumpling Upside Pizza (Upside Pizza.com) Yonah Shimmel Kish Bakery (Knishery.com Loreley Beer Garden (Loreleyncy.com)
star-5
Great experience!
Maureen_R
, Sep 2021
Our guide, Astrid “Ace” was great! She was very friendly and knowledgeable. I really enjoyed the history, culture, and food she exposed us to. My 10 year old enjoyed it, too. Younger kids will find it boring but for teens and adults I highly recommend it if you want to learn some new things about a part of Manhattan most people don’t explore!
star-5
Interesting tour, great food!
katypokelayahoocom
, Sep 2021
Super knowledgeable tour guide! He was friendly, accommodating, and the amount of food was just right. Getting the history of each neighborhood that we ate in, was so interesting. Would recommend!
star-5
Guide was outstanding,...
Cornelius_j
, Sep 2021
Guide was outstanding, really excellent knowledge about the History of the different parts of NYC. He kept the Tour moving and the 3 hours flew. The food stops were very unique
star-4
A Mostly Very Good Tour
Barb
, Aug 2021
Our guide, Astrid, was amazing. Her wealth of knowledge of the area and the numerous communities, the history of the area was wonderful. She was the best part of the tour! There are a couple of items that we believe the tour company could do to improve the experience for the guests...thus the 4 rather than 5 rating. The day of our tour was incredibly hot. We walked significantly long distances. We were not given bottles of water--which have always been part of one of our tours. Nor were we given a clear opportunity to purchase water. Bathrooms were few and far between. Rests were momentary at the food stops. As I compare the food experiences of other food tours, I would say that the food, while mostly excellent, was certainly less in quantity than other tours. This was more of a culture tour with some food than a food tour with some culture. Our final stop at a German restaurant offered us a rather stale "soft pretzel" (we do not eat pork) rather than the wurst offered to meat eaters. The food tours are rather expensive and we therefore hoped for somewhat better. Still, the tour was very enjoyable and we are glad for the experience.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Great tour, highlight of...
Carol_C
, Aug 2021
Great tour, highlight of our trip. Astrid brought the city's history and culture to life in a delicious master class. I learned more in 3 hours with her than I did living in the city for 4 years. The food stops were perfectly chosen but it was the story that made this tour transcendent.
star-1
Not worth it
Moshe_G
, Aug 2021
We thought Alex was nice and knowledgeable. We enjoyed learning about the African Burial Ground. However, we would have enjoyed going into the shops in China Town and Little Italy, instead of waiting on the sidewalk for Alex to bring out a small sampling. The amount of food, on a culinary tour was stingy and embarrassing. Alex ordered pizza for us instead of asking us what kind we preferred. A whole knish, instead of slicing it into fourths would have been nice. All in all, we only got 3 samples in almost 3 hours. It was insulting for the amount of money we paid for this tour.
star-5
Lower East Side Food tour
Diane_G
, Aug 2021
Brian led a small group of us around Lower Manhattan to visit neighborhoods, sample foods, and learn about the culture and history of the area. He was knowledgeable and personable, making sure to answer any questions, and provide a positive experience for all of us in the group, including adults and teenagers. Even those of us who had been to NYC previously learned new things about these neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Little Italy, and the Lower East Side.
star-5
Learned to eat like a local!
Jacob_H
, Aug 2021
Food was great, and the history was super interesting! Perfect for tourists or people (like us) who recently moved to the area and are looking to get to know their own neighborhood! Can’t recommend highly enough.
star-5
Excellent
Yvonne_E
, Aug 2021
The knowledge of the tour guide about the history of the city, the places that we visited, and the foods.

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